With the help of a decent graphic designer, all brands can easily transform their logos into rainbows for Pride Month, waving the colourful flag for LGBTQIA+ people around the world without anything concrete or rigorous behind it. Here at Bray St., we like to support our queer colleagues, clients and community with an accepting and inclusive culture that doesn’t only encourage them to bring their true selves to work, but positively celebrates their uniqueness and individuality, too.
Because we believe that pride comes from within.
It’s been 50 years since the first Pride march here in the UK – which started as a protest, evolved into a party and is now a bit of both – and we’ve come an incredibly long way since. From a minority once forced to hide away in gay bars such as the Stonewall Inn, notorious for being raided by police and sparking a resistance from its patrons, to a community that now strives to sing loud and proud – it’s been quite the journey. But it certainly doesn’t stop there, with plenty of work still to do to protect those who identity as LQBTQIA+, and ensure continued visibility and rights for everyone.
With so much of our time spent at work, campaigning for change arguably begins in the professional sphere by fostering a culture of belonging, spilling out from there into wider society. As a creative agency specialising in technology brands, Bray St. doesn’t only need to be forward-thinking in terms of our ideas, but equally as progressive when it comes to our policies.
That’s the sweet spot.
From the beginning – long before it was in the spotlight – equality was embraced at Bray St. not just in our ethos but in our policies, too. Men, women and non-binary. Straight, gay and trans. We firmly believe that everyone in the workplace should enjoy the same rights and opportunities. And it’s a belief that’s embedded deep in our DNA. Since those early days, we’ve also ensured that the LGBTQIA+ community is represented at Bray St., from permanent and freelance colleagues, to trusted suppliers and short- and long-term clients. We’ve always wanted Bray St. to know what it means to be queer from a point of authority for complete understanding and empathy. Not only that, but we ensure that our diversity extends beyond just the queer community, including race, ability and age alongside sexuality and gender. Everyone is treated fairly and with respect for their voices to be heard and opinions acted upon. This means that the face of Bray St. is truly representative of our society and all colleagues feel seen, can be themselves and give their best.
To mark Pride Month, and celebrate the many different walks of life that make up Bray St., we asked our colleagues what Pride means to them, how they’ll be waving the flag this June, and why it’s important to create a ‘safe space’ at work.
Danny Dagher, founder and client partner, says: “To me – a cisgender, gay man – Pride Month is an equal balance between celebrating our freedom to live an authentic life along with remembering the protests fought on our behalf in the past. I think it’s easy to get complacent with Pride, especially living in a cosmopolitan capital city in the west, but it’s still illegal to be LGBTQIA+ in 70 countries and is punishable by death in 20 of those. What’s more, hate crimes have doubled against queer people in the past four years, which shows just how relevant and important Pride still is. This year, I’ll be attending Pride parades across the UK, and supporting local queer artists across London. I celebrate my queerness every single day, too, ensuring my support of other marginalised communities in the spectrum isn’t confined to a single month. But it’s not enough. Cisgender gay white men, in particular, need to be outwardly vocal about supporting the trans community – one of the most vulnerable – and we all need to help young LGBTQIA+ kids who may be struggling with their identity and may not have an accepting home. When it comes to work, it’s so important that the culture is accepting, as it’s less stressful when you’re able to be yourself, which in turn helps build better connections with colleagues and makes you more productive. I’m out at work and make an effort to call my partner my ‘boyfriend’ when talking to clients to show them that I am in a same-sex relationship rather than disguising his gender in ambiguous pronouns. On a lighter note, I also send at least one Drag Race meme a day to the team, and drink my iced coffee year-round on calls!”
Steph Monteith, who heads up content and social media, says: “I identity as genderfluid and bi-sexual. To me, Pride Month should be more than simply an observance; it’s a time for starting conversations about queer identity, the experience of queerness, and the challenges we still face today. It’s a month where we have an ‘in’ to uplift the voices of marginalised groups within the LGBTQ+ community. At present, my queer identity is closely tied to being half-Ukraine, so obviously the past few months have been a struggle. But I’ve also made stronger connections with the queer community in Ukraine, including Kyiv Pride and the LGBTQIA+ armed forces, many of whom are afraid of the legal and violent persecution they would face under Russian occupation. Advocating for them and their immediate struggle against invasion is my focus for Pride Month this year, undoing the colonial narratives of homophobia, and showing people that queerness and Ukraineness can be inherently linked rather than conflicting.”
Nicky Rampley-Clarke, one of the agency’s regular freelance editors, says: “After many years working in permanent roles for agencies and clients, one of the main reasons for going freelance was my ability to have integrity in choosing to work with companies who I believe were fostering a friendly culture for the LGBTQIA+ community, and I’ve stuck to my guns – it’s one of the reasons I love working with Bray St. I’ve seen so much cringe-worthy rainbow-washing first-hand from brands over the years that I flat-out refuse to be part of it anymore. Being passive is almost as bad as being active. To me, Pride means being proud not just of myself personally, but from professionally, too – and this year I can honestly say I am.”
“Pride means so much more to me than the awareness campaigns throughout the month. It’s the knowledge that all people, whatever their orientation, are being celebrated – not just discussed”
Ben, UX/UI developer, he/him
“I’ve got many friends within the LGBTQIA+ community and their happiness and acceptance means so much to me. For some, I have witnessed their struggles and have supported them, and to see them break free and live their truth is everything!”
Michelle, project manager, she/her
“I’ve celebrated Pride Month since I was 14-year-old and came out to my family and friends. I can see how things have changed since, and still need to change, for a better future for everyone. 50% of Bray St.’s employees are queer, myself included, so they’re doing pretty well in terms of inclusivity!”
Angel, brand & UX/UI specialist, he/him
“I hope professional inclusivity continues until we get to the stage where everyone in all work environments feels the same and can be accepted as their true selves”
Eliza, art director, she/her
“For me, this month represents every one of us showing up as who we really are and being proud of it. I look forward to celebrating with my daughters in the future by uplifting LGBTQIA+ voices and reminding them how lucky they are to live in a time of acceptance”
Melissa, creative director, she/her
“For me, Pride Month is an opportunity to celebrate LGBTQIA+ rights, while reflecting on the struggles and challenges still present around the world”
Ross, content creator, he/him
“Pride Months means creating awareness of the struggles people within the community face and allowing them to celebrate who they really are”
Chantelle, designer, she/her
“I think it’s great that others come together to celebrate their individuality and would love to go to one of those colourful street parades!”
Cain, content creator, he/him